Congress Takes ‘Two Major Steps’ Toward Fighting Global AIDS, San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Says
Congress has taken "two major steps" in the past weeks to fund the fight against the AIDS pandemic, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states. House and Senate negotiators this week "finally agreed" on fiscal year 2002 appropriations for international AIDS efforts, deciding on $475 million for individual country program support and $200 million for the United Nation's Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. In addition, the House last week authorized an increase in international AIDS spending to $535 million for bilateral programs and $750 million for the global fund for fiscal year 2003, although this bill does not actually appropriate the money. Additional donations to the fund by the United States and other wealthy nations are "utterly crucial" to balance funding of both prevention and treatment, two "competing yet equally necessary halves of AIDS work," the editorial says. Although the United States has tripled spending for international AIDS efforts in the past two years, "much more money is needed" to fight the pandemic, the editorial says. While the United Nations estimates that the Global Fund needs $7 billion to $10 billion each year, it has received only $1.6 billion in pledges so far, the editorial notes. Therefore, President Bush "should support" Congress' "excellent" proposition to grant an emergency $1 billion appropriation to the fund, as "America's war on AIDS should be as resolute as its war on terrorism," the editorial concludes (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/20).
AIDS Fight Needs More Money, Op-Ed Says
"AIDS got to where it is because America and other rich nations did almost nothing to stop it," Amir Attaran, a scientist, lawyer and adjunct lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the Center for International Development, states in a Boston Globe op-ed, adding that the United States' international AIDS funding is a "pittance." He points out that the United States spent $15 billion to "save the airlines" after the Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, but spends just over $400 million each year -- the cost of "20 miles of freeway" -- on the "most lethal pandemic in 650 years, exceeded only by the Black Death of 1347." An "unprecedented problem" like the HIV/AIDS pandemic "justifies unprecedented solutions, and fighting AIDS needs more money," Attaran concludes (Attaran, Boston Globe, 12/20).